The basic architectural layout of Washington was modelled on Paris with streets that acted as spokes to a wheel. It feels vaguely Parisian here and there, but let’s cut that baby off at the knees straight away. D.C. is Paris without the soul or the cool cafes. It’s a government town — regimented, regulated. Starbucks cafes close at 7 pm here despite their Manhattan cousins shuttering at 9 pm or later. Banks don’t seem to open on Saturday. To me D.C. women seem somewhat waspier and more conservative-looking than NYC women. There’s very little in the way of Manhattan “edge” here. If I had to live in D.C., I would fail. I would be forced to drive cab.
I wanted to live-blog from today’s Sanity rally, sho nuff. Or at least Twitter. But there were so many people (200,000?) and probably almost as many cell phones packed into Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, and the traffic simply overwhelmed the carriers. Or AT&T, at least. No Twitter, no texts, no emails, no saving to Movable Type, no nuthin’.
“I’ve been hanging out inside the so-called special guest area at the D.C. Stewart-Colbert Sanity/Fear rally,” I wrote to a friend this morning. “It’s about 11 am, and the show, such as it is, doesn’t start for another hour. I can see the stage from where I’m standing, about 150 yards away. Cool breezy weather. Most are standing, some sitting on grass.
“How many thousands are here? You tell me. I’m in the thick of a total liberal feel-good Woodstock happy zoo. It’s fun. Everyone’s in an easy, amiable mood. Mostly 20 and 30 somethings. Almost no boomers or 40ish GenXers. In my section, that is.
“The special invited guest area is no picnic in the Hamptons, but at least it’s semi-close to the stage. It beats the shit out of the hoi polloi area, that’s for sure. Regular Joes are waay back and behind all kinds of trucks and tents and other obstructions. It’s like the Kansas City stockyards back there. So the elite area is at least some kind of okay thing.”
Except the friend never got the email.
I know I wrote earlier I don’t really agree with the Sanity Rally’s attitude, but it was very, very nice to be with so many cool people, all of them into the idea of chillin’ friendly and not demonizing the Tea Partyers. It just felt good to be putting out so much in the way of calmness and kindness and to have the sword in the sheath.
The right should be demonized, of course. They should be made to suffer in any way possible as long as it’s legal. The right doesn’t know from fairness or reasonableness. They’ve been doing everything they can to stall or undermine President Obama from the first day he took office. Righties understand one thing — pain. Stick it to them hard, and then harder, and then still harder. And once they’ve begun to whimper and beg for the beatings to stop, then you really let ’em have it. That’s the only way to treat them. You have to use the whip and the stick and the club.
Denver Post political editor Curtis Hubbard reported about 15 minutes ago that director George Hickenlooper, director of the forthcoming Casino Jack and co-director of the superb documentary Hearts of Darkness (as well as the very fine Factory Girl and The Mayor of Sunset Strip), was found dead this morning at age 47.
I considered George to be almost a personal friend. We spoke to each other often, trusted each other and discussed issues from time to time. The HE community knows how George has often posted comments about this and that, particularly when I reported a couple of months ago about initial information put out by Lionsgate giving Eleanor Coppola possessory credit on Hearts of Darkness, which obviously implied that she directed it. She did not.
Hubbard reports that Hickenlooper “was in Denver to prepare for the upcoming premiere of his latest film, Casino Jack, at the Starz Denver Film Festival.
“[Denver Mayor] John Hickenlooper has a bit part in his cousin’s latest movie, and the pair were scheduled to attend the premiere together Thursday night at the film festival. Casino Jack features Kevin Spacey as disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
“‘Shock and sadness do not begin to describe our emotions…we are devastated,’ John Hickenlooper said in a statement. ‘George had immense creative talents and cinematic gifts, but he was so much more than that to us and all his family.
“‘His passion for life, zeal for people and unquenchable curiosity enriched everyone who had the fortune to know him. We will miss his sense of humor, his warm character and the avid encouragement he gave anyone around him. Our hearts go out to his wife, Suzanne, and his son, Charles.’
“George Hickenlooper was born on May 25, 1963, in St. Louis, Mo. He graduated from Yale University in 1986 and went on to produce films that included The Mayor of Sunset Strip (2003).
In 2008, George Hickenlooper followed his cousin throughout the Democratic National Convention, producing the documentary Hick Town.
“A release from the mayor’s office said George Hickenlooper appears to have died from natural causes. No foul play is suspected. Denver police will conduct a death investigation, per regular protocol.”
47 is awfully damn young to check out like that. George was heavyish but more in a stocky-ish sense than what you might call overweight. This is a real shocker.
The news was initially tweeted by Adam Kelly (adzfilmmaker) and producer Dana Brunetti. And then Brunetti pulled his tweet. It was touch and go about whether the news was true, and then Hubbard’s story appeared on the Denver Post site at 3:26 pm Mountain time.
I need to walk back last night’s “Low Renters” rant. A good portion of the people I saw on the streets on Washington, D.C. alarmed…okay, bothered me by way of their appearance, manner, etc. Some looked related to the hillbillies in Deliverance. Naturally I was saying to myself, “What is this?” But all the cool, educated, well-groomed, tastefully dressed people came out for today’s Restore Sanity rally. I guess they hide in their homes and apartments unless otherwise motivated.
I must have spoken with a good 30 or 35 people at the rally over the last six or seven hours, and each one was cool, agreeable, nice to chat with, witty, good-humored and creme de la creme-ish. Parents, couples, singles, GW students, nutters, septugenarians, etc. I was proud to participate alongside them. “I don’t know what this really actually amounts to, but it feels good to be here,” I told myself, “and that’s in large part due to the mood and the vibe of a very mellow and likable and relentlessly polite group of people.” Group! More like…what, 200,000?
So I guess I should’ve counted to ten before flying off the handle last night, but if you’d been with me roaming around Dupont Circle and up and down K Street you’d understand where I was coming from.
The problem, of course, with the forthcoming production of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is that while Tim Burton is producing (a good thing), the director is Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted). I don’t have to explain why if you’ve seen Wanted. Bekmambetov’s creative DNA is coarse, to put it mildly. His instincts are to go extreme comic-book steroid. He’s going to turn early 1860s Washington into a lurid pulp thing. It’s going to be bad, bad, worse than bad.
The way to do this film right is to shoot it in the style of John Ford‘s Young Mr. Lincoln. Well, almost. But you have to believe, really believe, in Honest Abe’s determination to exterminate vampires. You know…like a deceptively sly jack-legged Illinois attorney would. A joke-telling guy with a pipey voice, but with plenty of sharp stakes in his satchel and possessed of a steely resolve.
“There she was, thrown to the pavement by a Republican in a checkered shirt. Another Republican thrusts his foot in between her legs and presses down with all his weight to pin her to the curb. Then a Republican leader comes over and viciously stomps on her head with his foot. You hear her glasses crunch under the pressure. Holding her head down with his foot, he applies more force so she can’t move. Her skull and brain are now suffering a concussion.
“The young woman’s name is Lauren Valle, but she is really all of us. For come this Tuesday, the right wing — and the wealthy who back them — plan to take their collective boot and bring it down hard on not just the head of Barack Obama but on the heads of everyone they simply don’t like.
“Teachers union? The boot!
“Muslim-looking people? The boot!
“Thinking of retiring soon? The boot!
“Living in a house you can no longer afford? The boot!
Doing a bit better with your minimum wage? The boot!
“Stem cell research, the bullet train, reversing global warming? Ha! The boot for all of you!
“What? You like your kids being covered by your health plan ’til they’re 26? The boot for them and the boot for you!
“In love with someone of your own gender? A double boot up the ass for every single one of you sick SOBs!
“Hoping there’s a few jobs left here in the U.S. when you graduate? How ’bout just a nice boot to your head instead?
“And most importantly, the last boot is saved for the black man who probably wasn’t born here, definitely isn’t a Christian and possibly might be the Antichrist sent here to oversee the destruction of our very way of life. A boot to your head, Obama-devil!
“Yes, one big boot is poised to stomp out whatever hopey-changey thing we might have had two years ago and secure this country in the hands of the oligarchs and the culture police.
“And if they win on Tuesday, they plan to show no mercy. They will not speak of bipartisanship or olive branches or tolerate any filibuster threats. They will come in and do the job with a mandate they’ll perceive the electorate will have given them. They will not fart around for two years like the Democrats did. They will not ‘search for compromise” or ‘find middle ground.’ They will not meet you halfway on the playing field. They know that touchdowns aren’t scored at the 50-yard line. Unlike our guys, they’re not stupid or spineless.
“Make no mistake about it, my friends. A perfect storm has gathered of racists, homophobes, corporatists and born-agains, and they are on fire. Two years of a black man who secretly holds socialist beliefs being the boss of them is more than they can stomach. They’ve been sick to death since the night of 11/04/08 and they are ready to purge. They won’t need a rope and tree this time to effect the change they seek (why bother when a nice shoe on another’s skull will do just fine, thank you).
“They simply need to get their base to the polls (done), convince enough people Obama is responsible for the fact they don’t have a job or a secure home (done), and then hope enough of us Obama-voters are so frustrated, disappointed and downright mad at the Dems (done) that we’ll either stay home Tuesday or, if we vote, we won’t be carpooling with 10 others to the polls.
“Done? Or not?
“These Republicans mean business. Their boots are all shined and ready. But they’ve got one huge problem:
“The majority of Americans don’t agree with them.
“The majority want the troops home. The majority want true universal health coverage. The majority want the thievery on Wall Street to be stopped. The majority believe that global warming is happening, that social security shouldn’t be privatized and that unions are a good thing.
“Too bad the majority party has done precious little to bring about the change for which the majority voted. Yes, change takes time. But try telling that to someone who hasn’t worked in two years. Or who hears the knock of the foreclosure sheriff at the door. The booted-up minority knows how to make hay in a situation like this. All they need is us, the disappointed, dismayed, disgusted us.
“What say you? Stay home and punish the weak-kneed, sell-out Democrats? Or spend every free moment you have between now and Tuesday trying to protect what little progress has been made so we can live to fight another day (even if it is with ‘allies’ like a Democratic Party that will more than likely still not get the message of what they need to do–and has, in fact, spent much of the past two years giving progressives the boot)? Perhaps our job, post-election, is to provide a gentle but swift boot in the bee-hind of the party whose mascot is an ass.
“Right now, we’ve got 72 hours. Seems like enough.” — Michael Moore.
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